Estes - Guardian {Kit} (2179) [2003-2014]

Contributed by Lance Alligood

Construction Rating: starstarstarstar_borderstar_border
Flight Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarstar_border
Diameter: 1.33 inches
Length: 19.13 inches
Manufacturer: Estes
Style: Sport

Rocket PicBrief:

This is an Estes 2003 Level 2 kit. It is very similar to the Estes Polaris but with different fin alignment. The kit uses Parachute recovery.

Construction:
The kit contains:

  • A main body tube
  • Upper body tube
  • Adapter
  • Launch lug
  • Nose cone
  • Motor mount
  • Die cut fin sheets
  • Shock cord
  • Assembled 12 inch parachute and decals.

PROS:

  • Typical easy-to-follow Estes instructions (excellent diagrams & text).

CONS:

  • Lots of fins to line up.
  • The cutout to mark the fin lines for the upper body tube is too short to wrap around the tube correctly (so if you use the cutout, your fins will not line up properly--use the Estes marking guide instead!)
  • Consider replacing the shock cord with one at least twice as long.

Construction starts with the motor mount (like most Estes kits). The small fins that edge up to the bottom of the main BT are glued on next. Give yourself plenty of time for those to dry before tackling the step of gluing the larger fins so that all fins line up properly. While those are drying, move on to assembling the nose cone, upper BT, adapter & fins. Instructions suggest rounding the edges of the fins on the upper BT after gluing them on. Do it before you glue instead! It is much easier & there is less risk of damage to the fins.

Attaching the shock cord & parachute are the final steps before painting (although I prefer to do these steps in reverse order).

Finishing:

PROS:

  • Aggressive looking rocket no matter what paint scheme is used.

CONS:

  • Large spiral in main BT. I would consider going the extra steps to fill & sand for a more attractive, smooth finish.
  • Beginners should not expect this rocket to look like the packaging - the decals are much smaller & more simple than the multicolor design suggests.

I considered an attempt at emulating the paint job on the packaging but I am still coming up to speed as an enthusiast who has been out of the loop for almost 20 years. Instead I went with a simple white Nose Cone / black BT scheme. The instructions don't mention this but I recommend sanding the main BT with some 400 grit paper before priming. Also, if you paint this a light color on the Nose Cone section, use a white primer so you get a consistent shade. I finally applied the self-adhesive decals (which I trimmed slightly on one end so they would butt up evenly against the edge of the BT) & finished with a clearcoat.

Construction Rating: 3 out of 5

Flight:

PROS:

  • Easy preparation.
  • Excellent flights on both a B6-4 & C6-5.
  • 12" chute allows for recovery that should be close to launch site even on a windy day.

CONS:

  • With any Estes rocket, keep an eye on the shock cord near the mount for damage after flight.

Recommended motors for this rocket are the A8-3 B4-4 B6-4 (first flight) C6-5.

Three or four pieces of recovery wadding along with the chute fit very easily and quickly inside the BT. Make sure that top fins are aligned with the main body fins before launch. With the large BT, you do not have to fold & wind up the parachute tightly to get it to fit inside.

I flew the rocket twice. After reading reviews of the Estes Polaris, I had the impression that an A8-3 wouldn't be enough to push a rocket with such a large diameter main BT & nine fins.

First flight was on a B6-4. Very straight trajectory even into a slight wind. Picture perfect & excellent height.

Second flight was with a C6-5. Again it had excellent trajectory with considerably greater height and speed.

Recovery:

PROS:

  • Rocket comes down nice on the provided chute.

 

On both flights the ejection charge fired at apogee and the parachute opened flawlessly. The 12" chute allows for safe but rapid descent close to the launch site even on windy days (minimal drift).

Consider replacing the plastic chute with a mylar one. Make sure to use 4 pieces of wadding or you will quickly shorten the lifespan of your shockcord as well.

Flight Rating: 5 out of 5

Summary:

OVERALL PROS:

  • Great looking rocket even when standing still.
  • High, straight flights on B & C engines.
  • Perfect recovery with a 12" chute.

OVERALL CONS:

  • Lots of fins that need to be aligned together.
  • Minimal decals compared to the picture on the packaging.

I had high hopes for this design when building it and I was not disappointed. The Guardian is going to be one of the highlights in my personal fleet as long as it continues its high flights and great recoveries.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

Flights

Comments:

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R.D. (April 23, 2003)
This was one of those kits that I bought on a 2003 kit binge. The recessed motor mount on mine went just far enough back that the lip of the hook catches on the inside of the rocket and I had to use a pair of pliers to straighten out the edge of the hook so it can fully release a motor. The main body tube is made out of the white exterior tube that Estes doesn't use a lot in favor of the glassine coated tubes like they do for the forward tube and it has a large spiral that was mostly covered up by my painting but is still there. Emulating the paint job is a tricky task and requires some patience. It took a while just to get how to mark out the sections of the fin coloration. I ended up botching the paint job on the front section and that is just a flat white. The monokote paint I'd bought a long time ago and discovered its problems is the main cause for my problems with painting (it likes to bubble and peel up except if used with the lightest coats). Either way, it is a really nice looking rocket and should be high on my launch agenda.
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L.A. (May 11, 2003)
Like you can tell from my review & especially my flight logs, this is one sweet rocket. I've become so fond of it that I am deeply considering getting a second one & converting for use with D & E engines. Since my review I also added a Kevlar® shock cord that runs around the rearend of the MMT tube, up through the body & then has a 3ft shock cord attached (because you don't want a upper BT/NC as big as this one snapping back & hitting the BT!) With those simple modifications, this rocket is darn near indestructible. The Guardian also descends quickly & safely with a 12" chute even on windy days.
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J.W. (July 20, 2003)
This rocket is a great flyer and is pretty easy to build. As far as emulating the paint job, I didn't even try. Instead, I gave it two coats of primer then two coats of racing orange and finally painted tiger stripes on it. Don't ask me why, I just thought it'd look cool, which it does. I agree with the need for the safety cord, and one might think about using a mylar chute instead of the plastic one. I always seem to singe some part of it. Anyway, the rocket is very stable and tracks perfectly with little noticeable weathercocking. Altogether, a wonderful rocket.
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J.H. (May 20, 2004)
Great simple rocket! I have flown this rocket 4 times with a C6-5. She flies high and straight every time. I have. of course, added shock cord length and a mylar parachute from rocketheads. If I want a guaranteed good flight to impress, I grab the Guardian.

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